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Do Florida homeowners need to worry about foreign drywall?

As you know, Florida homes are highly likely to sustain damage from hurricanes and tropical storms. Even mild water damage can wreak havoc on your house, especially if mold begins to grow inside your walls or along the baseboards where you may not immediately notice it. Mold, wood rot and other forms of water damage could make it necessary to replace the drywall inside your home. If your home underwent renovations in the past and that included new drywall, you may want to find out if it was imported from China.

What is so bad about Chinese drywall, you may wonder? USA TODAY cautions that much of the drywall imported from China contains hydrogen sulfide, which, reports say, corrodes metal and impacts residents’ health. Chinese drywall is prevalent in homes throughout the South, especially in Florida, that sustained damages during the 2004-2005 hurricane seasons or underwent renovations between 2001 and 2009. This is because, during those times, American-manufactured drywall was in short supply. Contractors and builders had to use drywall imported from out of the country, particularly China.

Problems commonly associated with Chinese drywall have reportedly impacted more than 4,000 homes. If you notice any of the following signs in your home, you might be one of those affected:

  • Corroded plumbing pipes or electrical wiring
  • Significant, ongoing damage to appliances, especially air conditioners and refrigerators
  • A strong smell of rotten eggs inside the home
  • Health problems, including asthma symptoms, coughing, irritated eyes, nosebleeds and sore throats, that get better away from the home but worsen upon returning to the house

These conditions can dramatically reduce the value of your home, result in costly, repeated repairs and negatively affect the health of your family. If you suspect you have Chinese drywall in your home, it may be wise to contact a home inspector, as well as your insurance company.

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